Number 1147

J/L DUO – LETHE (CD by Firework Edition Records) *
KERN – MITTENDRIN (CD by Creative Sources Recordings) *
  Eyesore) *
NORTH OF NORTH – SAME (CD by Offcompass)
OFF TRACK (4xCD compilation & download by Esc Records)
  Editions/Empty Editions)
HAIRBONE – EARTH TO MOMMA (LP by Blank Form Editions/)
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS – 8118 (LP by Des Sastres D’Or) *
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS – ATOMIC ROSES (CDR by The Terminal Kaleidoscope) *
  Editions) *
MVK – LOOK AT YOUR BODY (cassette by Clinamen) *
R. SCHWARZ – WIND 4-7 (cassette by Audio Visual Atmosphere) *
GREENHOUSE – DEPRESSION ERA (cassette by Audio Visual Atmosphere) *


Some people I know don’t read the entire weekly thing but quickly scan for names they recognize and I
wonder how many of them started this reviewing thinking it is about La Monte Young? La Morte Young is
a French five-piece noise rock group. Two men on guitar, one drums (also on bass), one of electronic
devices and bass player singing and playing ‘hurgy-toy’, which is small pocket sized hurdy gurdy. The
members are also active in bands as Nappe, Sun Stabbed and Talweg; I think I only heard the latter. The
group released their first album five years ago on cassette, followed by a 3″CDR and a split LP with Drone
Electric Lust. ‘A Quiet-Earthquake Stule’ is their first CD (also on LP) and the first time I hear them. The title
track opens the release and is an eleven minutes wild ride, with chaotic drums and guitars, but also a long
howl (voice) and electronics shooting wide and far. At full volume this is surely one massive blast. But it is
not just that. ‘Heavens Cover The Abyss’ is a very intense, subdued and introspective interplay of all
instruments set to drone mode. No chaos, no mayhem; yes, it’s loud but it is also something completely
else. ‘Some Ghastly Fright’ is not unlike that, even when it takes a few minutes for the drums to kick in, this
time slow and controlled, but now the drones sound like they were recorded inside an airplane engine.
Full on and very loud in case you wondering. ‘Memory Awake’ is at five minutes the shortest piece here
and also the strangest, even a bit out of place perhaps. It is not unlike that of modular electronics, with the
electronic devices of Christian Malfray doing a lead here, but surely the guitars play an essential part
along, no doubt, many stompboxes to create the sound of a rusty spaceship. These are four quite different
pieces, perhaps not giving the clearest of ideas what they sound like, but La Morte Young can surely be
seen as both diverse in their musical interests and unified in their intense approach to playing their
music. (FdW)
––– Address:

J/L DUO – LETHE (CD by Firework Edition Records)

Releases by Firework Edition Records from Sweden can at times be puzzling affairs, quite conceptual.
‘Lethe’ by J/L Duo is one such riddle. The duo is Andreas Hiroui Larsson on drums, percussion and voice
and Johan Jutterström on saxophones. This is a recording made on 29 September 2017 at Khimaira in
Stockholm. They have been playing together since 2003. “The last six years Andreas has studied
philosophical aesthetics and written extensively on epistemic relativism in European aesthetics, ontology
of music as well as performative acts and interpretations and Johan has carried out an artistic research
project on choreography and music without instruments. These years have affected their work with J/L Duo
to the point where they omitted their instruments altogether and instead went for walks discussing for
example ontological ramifications of concepts of music” So far so good. The cover text is about ‘Lethe’, one
if the five rivers in Hades, the underworld, considered to posse the power of forgetfulness. This concert can
be seen as one in three parts. The first twelve or so minutes sees them carefully improvising together on
their respective instruments; it is all very quiet, almost on the brink being inaudible. One has to turn up the
volume quite a bit. Then there is a spoken word of an equally low volume and I must admit it was too much
trouble for me to understand what was said. Even with the volume all the way up it is just not easy. This
section lasts easily some fourteen minutes. The final bit sees them picking up their instruments again and
rush to your amplifier and make sure the volume is down as this is the loudest section, but also of equal
careful interaction between both players. What it means? I am not sure. Do I like it? Yes, the musical part
for sure, the text part I am not sure about. Let’s end with a lengthy quote from the label about all of this, and
see if that works for you: “This experience was so intense in a metaphysical sense that Andreas and Johan
acknowledged how J/L Duo made its presence again and announced tentatively to each other that the next
years were to be dedicated to focusing on their mutual resurrected friend. Lethe, the river of forgetfulness in
Hades, the underworld according to Greek mythology, had been discussed by Andreas and Johan for some
years. That this river could be interpreted as a mode of suspension – a metaphor for metaphor – was
discussed by them as both a blessing and a curse; a picture of what is, in the sense of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s
concept of family resemblances, from two historically positioned subjects of today.”
    Easier to grasp is the music by Lars Åkerlund, even when it is at three hours and a bit, quite a lot to take
in and Åkerlund dealing with some extremer sonic properties. According to the cover he uses “sounds from
Buchla 200 series, field recordings, SuperCollider, electric monochord, electric guitar and various digital
and analog equipment” and twelve pieces were recorded in Sweden at EMS (Stockholm), StudioVetteFyra
(Stockholm) and PigHouseStudio (Stenkyrka), and in Spain at CDMC (Madrid). The music is, as said, quite
extreme, but not necessarily in a loud, noisy way. In fact, sometimes the music seems rather quiet. It’s
extremism lies in that ‘loud-quiet’ approach, as well as the minimalist use of sounds. It seems Åkerlund
uses a few sounds per piece, which in length vary from seven to thirty-three minutes, which are used to
great effect. In ‘Preality’, for instance, it says very quiet for very long and if you turn up the volume it
becomes a deep rumble, like the recording of an earthquake and towards the end there is high end
buzzing sound, slowly dying out. All in the course of seventeen minutes. Crackles, buzzing electricity and
faulty wires seem to me a staple ingredient in this music, but for all I know it could be that the instruments
used just make some perfect imitation of these sounds. Åkerlund likes his developments to be minimal but
they are there for sure; it just takes a bit of time. I think some people will find the developments to be too
slow, but not me. I think it is best to play the entire three CD set in one go, and perceive it as twelve songs
of some longitude. It can be quiet for what seems a very long period, or loud for the same amount of time,
but it is best to leave volume control untouched. Let both the quiet and the loud music overwhelm you in
equal proportions. Don’t be annoyed with either way, but succumb to it all. I am not sure if this is something
Åkerlund intended by putting out a three CD set; perhaps it is to him just a collection of twelve entirely
different pieces (which I would argue they are not that different in approach and choice of sounds). For me
the experience of playing it all in one long listening made the most sense. I was thinking of BJ Nilsen’s
recent six-hour concert, which played in a similar amount with the loud-quiet dynamic, so maybe my
judgement is partially clouded? Throughout this is a wonderful collection of some excellent electronic
music; sometimes more locked into the world of serious, academic music and sometimes a bit drone like
and with a great selection of sounds. (FdW)
––– Address:

KERN – MITTENDRIN (CD by Creative Sources Recordings)

Kern is Berlin-based acoustic unit of three – so far – unknown musicians for me: Edith Steyer (clarinet,
saxophone), Matthias Muller (trombone) and Yorgos Dimitriadis (drums). Matthias Müller studied jazz-
trombone at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Since 2004 he works and lives in Berlin playing with
musicians like Mark Sanders, George Lewis, Olaf Rupp, Toshimaru Nakamura and many others. Besides
he is member of the improvising ´Splitter Orchester´. Also he makes his mark in the field of contemporary
music and worked for example with the Berlin-based ensembles “Xenon“ and “Work In Progress“. Yorgos
Dimitriadis studied drums at the New Conservatory Thessaloniki, Greece and settled in 2006 in Berlin as
a drummer in the fields of improvised music and contemporary jazz. He has his own trios going on and is
involved in many projects, etc. Berlin is of course a very fruitful soil for improvised music, and there is a big
community hanging out there of musicians that are active in this field. Edith Steyer lives also in Berlin but
originates from Munich and studied Saxophone at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. She appears
also on another recent release by Creative Sources Recordings by the Bertch Quartet with George Hadow,
Henk Zwerver and Raoul van der Weide. As a trio they are into sound-oriented improvisation. They sculpted
their ideas into ten miniatures. As is often the case with improvisation that focuses on exploration of sound,
the improvisations lack dynamic. This is not what they are into of course, but still missed, as their controlled
interactions do not always satisfy my expectations. On the cover there is a quote of Charles Ives: “Vagueness
is at times an indication of nearness to a perfect truth”, which might be a clue for the quality they want to
express through their music. (DM)
––– Address:


Recently I reviewed a cassette release by Brovold for Eh? Tapes: ‘Superstar; a collection of 11 songs
performed by an 11-piece ensemble. Now Brovold surprises us with something completely different for
the Eh? Tapes related Public Eyesore-label. He started his career in the 80s in New York City, where he
worked with Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca and Jamie Saft. In the 90s he operated from Detroit with avant-
rock group Larval. They released several albums for Knitting Factory, Avant and Cuneiform. His newest
statement is related to the past. Michael Goldberg is an old friend, who influenced Brovold back in the 80s,
when he was doing mainly visual work. Early 2000s they discussed minimalism, and Goldberg asked him
if he “could make a minimalistic piece that wasn’t as repetitive and ‘meandering’ as what he was listening
to” at that moment.” This remark planted a seed and eventually led Brovold composing a very basic and
minimalistic pattern. This pattern, played by him on guitar, is the backbone in all 12 works on this cd. He
invited 12 musicians to make their contributions, resulting in a diverse sequence of duets. We hear him
with Mark Ormerod, Scott Burland, Rhys Chatham, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Leonardo Protopeople, Keith
Moliné, Frank Schultz, Nick Didkovsky, Frank Pahl, Karen Haglof, Beth Wilusz/Erik Gustafson. In all its
simplicity the motive played by Brovold defines in general the scope and shape of the contributions. Most
of them move on in a quiet and meditative way and circle around four minutes, using a diversity of
instruments and techniques: acoustic and electric guitar, voice, cello, etc. And all have Brovold’s theme
in a prominent position. Surprisingly with the individual participation of so many different musicians, they
duets make up a coherent whole of pieces of equal quality and it is a very satisfying and inspiring project.
––– Address:

NORTH OF NORTH – SAME (CD by Offcompass)

North of North are Anthony Pateras (piano), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Erkki Veltheim (electric violin). A
very promising combination of three highly skilled musicians! In 2016 they recorded their first album ‘The
Moment In and Of Itself’ in Berlin, which was released by the Immediata label. For the same label Pateras
and Veltheim also recorded two duo efforts: ‘Entertainment = Control’ (2015) and ‘The Slow Creep Of
Convenience’ (2017). January this year they recorded their second album at the Church Of All Nations,
Melbourne. Released by themselves on their also in 2018 newly established Offcompas label. The album
truly is an impressive kick off for their label, and I hope many will take notice of this brilliant music. They play
three extended improvisations all named after the location of recording: Church of all Nations 1, 2 and 3.
The music often ‘sounds’ as contemporary composed music, and surely makes use of procedures from
composed music as the improvisations are very much about structure. All players show a dazzling virtuosity.
Their dialogues are of an inventive and sparkling musicality. Every note and movement they play is well
aimed and an effective building stone in their instant improvised constructions. Tinkler is the most prominent
player of the three. He is a very driven and solid player, propelling their interactions to moments of a baffling
beauty. This totally amazing and urgent music. Offering a very original and new sight on the relation of
composed and improvised music. Brilliant! (DM)
––– Address:

OFF TRACK (4xCD compilation & download by Esc Records)

This fascinating boxset is the end-product of four “sound walks” led by Jeroen Diepenmaat outside of
Deventer, The Netherlands. Diepenmaat is known for his investigations of format and media, creating
cut-up collaged flexi-discs and record objects, tape loops and manipulated cassette players. For this
project, however, he took a fairly straightforward “acoustic ecology” approach as he led groups of listeners
on four walks through Keirzersrande (one walk per season) with two directional microphones. Afterwards,
he gave the participants a CD of what was recorded on the walk. The four CDs in this set collect all four
documents of the sound walks. While the four CDs have a documentary quality to them, Diepenmaat invited
artists to compose new work out of his collected field recordings and made those new pieces available as a
download from the Esc. Records Bandcamp page, essentially producing a fifth CD to complement the four
physical ones.
    I have not yet been to the part of the Netherlands where these walks took place, so I came to this sonic
experience with no more information than what came out of my speakers. With good headphones on, there
is a persistent sense of space across these discs. The content is quotidian: the cries of birds, the low rumble
of cars (with their telltale doppler signature), passing airplanes, occasional wind blast, moving water, and
people coughing, talking and laughing. Diepenmaat makes no attempt to disguise the sources or force any
composerly drama on his material, which over the course of each disc has the effect for me of observing an
environment along with him, perhaps walking in the group and looking/listening over his shoulder. My
favorite tracks were the most abstract ones; on the second disc, the fourth track seems to capture a motor
spinning or some repetitive, manmade sound whose source isn’t so readily recognizable. I also enjoyed the
third disc, which contains the most static pieces of the set, with vast expanses of empty space and not a lot
happening. All six of the tracks are quite similar in content and density, making it most suitable as ambience
to blend in with a listener’s environment. The fourth disc begins with a fantastic jolt of technology, as the
artist’s recorder seems to be cutting in and out. After two tracks that are similar to disc 3, the final piece of the
set finds something like metal being shifted around a workspace, bashing together with a force and colour
absent from what came previously. Again, the fizzle of Diepenmaat’s recorder makes his authorial presence
    The four discs of the set have a rawness to them, which I assume is what was intended. Diepenmaat’s
decision to give his sounds over to composers, then, is interesting. It takes him out of the “acoustic ecology”
zone, allowing a diverse bunch of people from different backgrounds to take the sound walks farther afield.
Again, my favorite tracks are the ones that took them the farthest. People like Michael Ridge, Staplerfahrer,
podL and BMB Con. are relatively conservative with the material, keeping intact the general sound-world of
wind, birds, and passing cars while lightly imposing their own structures. Teleferick, on the other hand,
somehow came up with a lovely little lullaby for acoustic bass and cello (and perhaps other things I don’t
recognize), though its relationship to the source is obscure. Gluid (aka Bram van den Oever) similarly strays
far from the idyllic landscape with operatic wordless vocals and upbeat ambient pulse. Francisco Lopez
brings a dramatic edge (as he does), distilling low tones and metallic percussion into a foreground shriek.
Similarly bold is Machinefabriek’s take, which pulls tonal hum out of the white-noise. Nlus somehow finds
thundering beats and vocal tics amid Diepenmaat’s blank landscapes, transforming the walk through nature
into woofer-shaking dance tune. Vehikel also finds a heavy beat among the field recordings (perhaps from
the final track of the fourth disc?), a slow pummel augmented by shearing-metal filigree. Les Horribles
Travailleurs are somewhere in the middle, preserving the sound walks’ elements while teasing out drones
and tonal events. (HS)
––– Address:

  Editions/Empty Editions)
HAIRBONE – EARTH TO MOMMA (LP by Blank Form Editions/)

A long time ago I was working for a music festival in The Netherlands and the curator, the sadly missed
Anton Viergever, told me about a composer he wanted to invite from the early minimalists scene and it
was a new name for; Catherine Christer Hennix, who was then living in Amsterdam, and by all means a
name not many people heard of then, not at least the posse I was hanging with. This was in 2005 or 2006
and since then there have been several releases with her music, none of which made it to these pages. I
was quite impressed back then by her music. Hennix was born in Stockholm in 1948 and pioneered with
synthesizers and tape music at EMS in that city, before moving to New York and becoming involved with
Fluxus. She worked with Henry Flynt and La Monte Young and studied raga with Pandit Pran Nath. She is
also a professor of Mathematics and Computer science. These she lives in Berlin. Blank Forms releases
now a double LP with recordings from 1976 when her ensemble The Deontic Miracle at a ten-day Dream
Music Festival in Stockholm. The pieces here were recorded during rehearsals. The first two sides contain
two pieces for ‘well-tuned Fender and sine wave drone’, and it is some very odd music. It is somewhere
along the lines of free jazz piano, but much slower in tempo, modern classical music and with a bit of
electronics mixed together. While it is changing throughout this piece, its development is also quite slow
and minimal it is perhaps not what you’d consider minimal music, or perhaps drone music. I was reminded
of MEV but for a solo instrument. ‘The Well-Tuned Marimba’ is a piece for “well-tuned Yamaha, sine wave
drone, live electronics” and Hans Isgren on the amplified sheng. Not mentioned, but judging by the piece,
I’d say there is also a marimba in play here. This is a piece that one would more easily consider to be a
piece of minimal music. There is a fine set of drones at work here, with long sustaining sounds floating in
and out in a gentle way with the marimba feeding through some kind of kind of long line of delay modulates,
overlapping and intertwining with each other. The last piece is ‘Equal Temperament Fender Mix’ on the
fourth side takes this tape-delay/tape-loop system further on a Fender piano and it is not easy not to think
Terry Riley’s experiments in the mid 60s and Hennix’ piece has a similar haunting, trance like state. Sounds
overlap more and more and it becomes a massive cloud of sound. You can decide to listen from above, not
concentrating on single event, or dive in deep and explore how particular sounds evolve and change. In
terms of pieces that I like I’d think for the best was the last and then the one that I liked least at the
beginning, but that I too I thought was a very fine piece. It’s great to hear something by her again and it
made me realize I should have checked out her releases in the past years.
    And for something completely different on the same label we turn our attention to Hairbone’s first LP.
This is a trio consisting of Raul de Nieves, Jesse Stead and Nathan Whipple, who were first Haribo (not to
be confused with the candy of the same name). I believe they are from New York and their music is called
‘art-damaged rock and pop music’ with comparisons being drawn with Destroy All Monsters, Die Tödliche
Doris, Sun City Girls and Butthole Surfers. I can see some of that, even it seems to me it lacks the naivety
of “having instruments but can’t play any of them” attitude by the Doris and not so much the chaos of the
Surfers. There seems to be much more control and technical ability here. These people have mastered
their instruments (vocals, percussion/beats, guitar and keyboard, with each member doing a variety of
these. Some of this is surely quite poppy (‘Wine Product’ for instance) in a slightly commercial yet still
alternative way. Hairbone shoots all over that alternative space and place with their music, bouncing with
strange guitar hooks, mild chaos and downright pop. From quite noisy and violent to something quite
mellow and sweet. Occasionally they throw about spoken world samples such as in ‘Eyewitness Clown’,
which I am not sure if meant to be funny, but I think it was. Sometimes they are downright serious as well. I
thought it was all quite good, but at the same time I also wondered if Vital Weekly is the right place for this
kind of music, with all being quite weird and rocky, yet also a bit too pop for me. (FdW)
––– Address:


That the four artists in Universal Eyes have known each other and played together for decades is clear as
soon as the first sounds creep out from the speakers. The atmospheric ooze that fills this double LP (or
single CD) is exploratory and confident at the same time. Nate Young started Wolf Eyes as a solo project
of bizarre industrial thump in the late 90s. Aaron Dilloway released some of those early tentative
experiments on his Hanson Records label, then joined Young to make Wolf Eyes a duo of TG-lineage
punk noise. At the same time, John Olson was already producing genre-resistant circuit-scorch under
several “band” names for his own hyper-prolific American Tapes label. One of those bands, Universal
Indians, was a free-rock/improv-adjacent psychedelic jam racket with Gretchen Gonzales (and others).
Inevitably for a small scene of enthusiastic friends, these bands’ memberships intertwined. Olson joined
Wolf Eyes, Dilloway joined Universal Indians and later left Wolf Eyes to go solo. Co-conspirators filtered
in and out and new bands involving all of these folks made hundreds of recordings with group names
changing (seemingly) arbitrarily. All of which leads to “Four Variations on ‘Artificial Society’: Olson,
Gonzales, Young and Dilloway got together to perform as Universal Eyes (Universal Indians + Wolf
Eyes) at Wolf Eyes’ annual Trip Metal festival in 2018 and recorded this mammoth double-LP to mark
the occasion.
    The production (by Warren Defever of His Name is Alive) has a fascinating intimacy to it, allowing
individual components to blur together across these five (not four?) untitled tracks. The music shifts
organically from grey downer ambience into looser, more energetic improvisation. Somehow, it sounds
as if it were recorded in a massive underground concrete bunker, not a home studio. Olson’s saxophone
soars over beastial tape-loops and fluttering metal clang. The overall quality of this music is unhurried,
natural and confident. At one point midway through the first track, the sound reduces to one lonely moan,
and the band allows it to breathe and shift sideways for awhile before slowly building to an ecstatic
crescendo. The second track’s free-jazz flurry gives way to mechanical throb that highlights Dilloway’s
robotic acoustic drums. The third track is a bleak squish that wisely resists building up to anything. By
the fourth track (my favorite on the album), the pounding drums remind me of a Neu! tape loop on 1/4
speed, marching forward as synthesizers send warning signals up above the treeline. The final track
(the fifth variation?) again abandons rhythm with a dense mud drone. An excellent, thoroughly
enjoyable album. (HS)
––– Address:

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS – 8118 (LP by Des Sastres D’Or)

Well, it says LP in the header, but you may have a little trouble finding it. It is a limited edition of merely 40
copies, so die-hard Pink Dots fans might have been way ahead of you there, but the good news is that it is
also available on online for free. You miss out on the artwork, created by The Silverman and Astrid Mutsaars,
mirroring landscape photography from their surrounding (but all are shown on the website of the label). This
is the Pink Dots’ more experimental side, and the music acts as mirrors too. The first side is titled ’81’, the
other ’18’. On side A the source material is from 1981 and early 1982, improvisations on a Victorian
harmonium with the addition of field recordings (on cassette) and vocal experiments from that time, but
so I believe recently put together. Both sides are mostly instrumental, with some voice sample on ’18’, and
quite experimental. On ’81’ the old harmonium sounds like a wild beast, very much like a harmonium would
sound, I guess, with air being pump around, but there is also quite a deep drone the eight minute break,
slowly dying out; the second half of the track is curious improvisation for harmonium and sticks on a table,
a recorder and other assorted small instruments. Strange but quite captivating. ’18’ (no doubt made in 2018!)
is a great piece of software transforming the harmonium into a multitude of drones, crackles and a female
voice swirling in and out of the mix. A delicate piece of music unfolds slowly with some great airy tones and
carefully placed ‘other’ sounds; I should think perhaps the flute and sticks on a table from the other side, but
also heavily transformed. Being a big sucker for the more experimental Pink Dots (more of that in a bit), I
thought this is an excellent album.
    In an even smaller edition a solo LP by Pink Dots singer Edward Ka-spel (25 copies) was released,
but it is also available for free download. Unlike the Dots this is a voice heavy record, with Ka-spel reciting
a story, of which the meaning I found hard to grasp, but his voice, which of course you like it or not, is used
to great effect. Especially ‘As Above, So Below’ works like a radio play with sounds supporting the story,
along with eerie drones, tinkling bells. Ka-spel changes microphone position, reverb settings and in some
places there is just music. ‘Whisper My Name – Villa 9’ seems a bit more music heavy, with some wordless
chanting, subtly dark drones, piano sounds and a bit even more abstract poetry here and there. It is a very
wise decision to put this up for free as it’s not something that should be limited for only a few to hear.
    Returning to the Legendary Pink Dots who released ‘Atomic Roses’ in 1982 on a cassette via Illusion
Production, DDAA’s label. In 2011 it was released on LP by Beta Lactam Ring Records and later the same
version online. Now there is this 2018 re-master and while I am not the biggest fan of constant re-mastering,
sometimes with hardly any changing result, this particular one is a true beauty. I had the original cassette
back in the day, which sounded a bit muddy, as I recall, but now the sound is shiny and full of detail. I am,
as said, a sucker for the experimental side of the Dots and also for much of their early work, which I bought
as a young man. They were by far the most original voice in the world of cassettes; their pieces stand out a
mile on many compilations, especially through the voice of Ka-spel, but also their melodic approach,
keyboards, drums, guitars and a fine touch of experimentalism, playful experiments with tapes. Here on
‘Atomic Roses’ that all works very well.  Both sides of the original cassette are kept together as one piece,
whereas these are clearly separate songs, with small bits in between and it works still very well. At times it
is all very pop-like, but with some darker, experimental bits, but everything moves with quite some speed
and vigour. This is a lovely time machine, a throw back to more carefree days of bedroom cassette joy, of
pop songs meeting experiment, even when all the songs are about that typical less carefree mid-80s
feelings of everything disappearing in a nuclear mushroom cloud. (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


Right now it is Friday afternoon and obviously we host no drinking party at the VWHQ, but it is usually a
moment in the week when things also slow down here a bit and sometimes all the writing is done by then.
Right now there are only two releases left and that is these two. Music on Sound In Silence is usually
ambient in nature and The Green Kingdom certainly has the perfect seven pieces for a quiet Friday
afternoon. Sun’s gone, mild autumn-esque breeze, a good book and coffee not to for away and it’s time to
drift along the music of Michael Cottone. Before his work was released by Lost Tribe Sound, Dronarivm,
Home Assembly Music, Nomadic Kids Republic, Own Records, Tench, Flaming Pines and others. I only
heard three previous releases by him (Vital Weekly 633921 and 1059) and now a fourth one. The music
is a continuation of what I heard before, which means guitars play again a big role here. That is the electric
guitar and a bunch of loop devices, that are used to let the sound meander about, let it ring and sing, and on
top of that there is a bit of tinkling on the snares. According to the information there is also the use of
synthesizers, piano, acoustic guitars, all used to generate an extra set of shimmering drones and while you
could easily argue with ‘what’s new pussycat’, and the answer being ‘nothing’, I’d like to think that the more
people like Cottone recorded the more refined the music gets. Here rhythm is almost absent (‘Dorado’ has
a repeated loop) and it’s vast delicate sceneries depicted through sound and Cottone develops his craft at
creating these pieces. This is one of his better albums.
    I don’t think I heard music by North Atlantic Drift before, the duo of Mike Abercrimbie (also known as
Transits Of Mercury) and Brad Deschamps (Anthene; a release by that project was reviewed in Vital Weekly
1080) from Toronto. ‘Departures, Vol. 2’ is their sixth album since 2011. They also run a label called Polar
Seas Recordings. Their music is ambient too, which is hardly a surprise, seeing Sound In Silence releases
it and they go for a more minimalist approach in their music, with longer and more sustaining sounds.
Apparently they have stripped away “most of the percussive elements, glockenspiel and more prominent
guitars”, in favour of longer guitar parts and washes of synthesizers. For all I know it could have been all
analogue synthesizers just as easily as all guitars and loop devices. This CDR has eight lengthy pieces
from around four minutes up to nine of spacious drifting music, with a slow development through each of
these pieces. Listening to this music I can easily see why they would have a label called Polar Seas, as this
music has a somewhat glacial character to it. A bit colder, perhaps, than the usual ambient music, this is
something of a chill breeze over a snow-white landscape up north or down south. This is a most enjoyable
polar trip, and for one it takes places in your own space. No need to visit cold places in person, but sit back
and drift along with the music. North Atlantic Drift certainly live up to their name with the excellently
produced music. (FdW)
––– Address:


Zero de Conducta is an improvising collective from Barcelona: Montserrat Marfany (vocals, percussions,
kochlos, glockenspiel, xylophone), Jaume Martin (guitar, glockenspiel, casiotone, xylophone, percussions,
keyboard, bass), Offscope Jordi Buscà (guitar, vocals, percussions, samples), Captain Enric Solà (drums,
percussions, bass), Sir Pere Canals (guitar, percussions, keyboard, vocals) and Dr Antoni Robert (guitar,
synthesizer, percussions, whistles, bass).  From a punk attitude they strive for spontaneous improvised
music with a strong emotional impact. They aim for ‘intense soundscapes where it makes sense living’. An
approach that immediately has my sympathy, but this in itself does not guarantee musically interesting
results. They create open sound- objects and textures. They work from a free anarchistic spirit. No rules,
everybody can join in and deliver his part. That’s the atmosphere. I don’t know if they combine their work
with theatrical aspects, but I could imagine so. Their improvisations develop in a pleasantly unfocused way,
just dwelling unpretentious into your ears. Virtuosity nor complexity are their thing. But there is a continuous
flow in their operations that absolutely has its charm. (DM)
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Kendra Steiner gives birth to their 12th release by Alfred 23 Harth, a saxophonist from Germany, most
known from work with Heiner Goebbels in the 80s, but already in 1969 he debuted on ECM with his Just
Music ensemble! Up to the present we find him in many small line-ups and projects. This time we find him in
a duo work with guitarist Nicola L.Hein, a guitarist from Düsseldorf. Hein also works as composer, sound
artist and philosopher by the way.  Harth only plays on clarinets here and Hein just electric guitar.
Recordings date from summer 2017 in Tokyo when they were in Japan for several live performances. The
CDR offers seven of their duo improvisations. The patterns and motives played by Harth, often sounded too
familiar and well known. Although Harth plays focused and with verve, his vocabulary as an improviser
holds not many surprises for my ears. I liked his playing most – and found their duo-work most satisfying –
where they come close to jazzy ballads and create an intimate atmosphere. Like in ‘This is not here or
there’ or in the second part of ‘War is over if you want’. Hein by the way is an interesting and inventive
guitarist, of whom I would like to hear more.
    Contemporary Shamisen Duo are Joshua Weitzel and Ryota Saito. Weitzel is a guitarist and shamisen
player from Kassel, Germany. Ryota Saito is a Tokyo-Based Kouta-Shamisen master. Both met in Berlin in
2013 and started to work together. Their collaboration has them both playing the traditional Japanese
instrument shamisen, a three-string instrument dating from the 16th century. But not only playing it in a
traditional way. They try to expand possibilities using preparations and extended playing techniques.
‘Genpatsuryoku’ contains parts from sessions they did in Osaka and Kyoto in 2016 and 2017 and this a
valuable documentation of their project. In their duets often one plays by pulling the strings. This gives
one an idea of the traditional sound of this instrument. The other one treats the instrument with diverse
applications in order to generate new sounds aspects from this instrument. Their improvisations are a very
subtle and breakable character. There strong moments where they really had my attention. But overall their
abstract duets are not very prolific to keep me in the listening mode. (DM)
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MVK – LOOK AT YOUR BODY (cassette by Clinamen)

You may not immediately recognize the acronym MVK, but behind is Mathijs (Vincent) Kouw. It is not a
name that comes up in Vital Weekly a lot. There are some older announcements of concerts by him and
there is only one previous release reviewed, which was a LP he did with Radboud Mens (see Vital Weekly
1075). I know Kouw for a very long time, running into him when he was a customer and later volunteer at
the shop/label that also employed me and in the late 90s he was keenly exploring software and laptop. The
five pieces on this cassette sees him using ‘modular synthesizer, metal objects and software’ and it’s not
easy to recognize modular synthesizer or metal objects in these pieces. Kouw loves his drones, still after all
these years I must add, and these pieces are some excellent examples of that. Drifting, glacial drone pieces,
with a part gentle feeling but perhaps also with some uneasiness about it. There is something creepy about
these pieces, I think, but it is very hard to put my finger on it. Kouw emphasis tones by slowly changing the
colour of it and occasionally there is a bit of hiss allowed it seems. In ‘Of Jointed Parts Ready To Collapse,’
the sound is ice like and in ‘A diseased and suffering thing’, Kouw reaches below the surface with a dark
and spooky piece, just as in the title piece. These five pieces are quite different in the way sounds are
approached, shaped and controlled, but the whole release forms a great set of pieces. I am not sure if a
cassette is the right medium for the somewhat delicate frequencies used by Kouw (which doesn’t equal
‘soft’, mind you) and maybe a CD would be a better choice. Who’s making an offer for that, then? (FdW)
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R. SCHWARZ – WIND 4-7 (cassette by Audio Visual Atmosphere)
GREENHOUSE – DEPRESSION ERA (cassette by Audio Visual Atmosphere)

There isn’t a lot of information for both of these releases. From R. (as in Robert) Schwarz I reviewed a
previous cassette, ‘Wind 1-3’, also released by Audio Visual Atmosphere, back in Vital Weekly 1048. I
didn’t have any information on the man either. Back then I thought it all had to do with synthesizers, in a
sort of dramatic Peter Frohmader sort of way but this time I am not so sure. For each of the four pieces on
this thirty-minute cassette, there is a location mentioned or a sound. ‘Palm Tres Rustling, Ranong, 2017’ for
instance, ot Branches Touching, Shabla, 2017′. I could easily believe that these were made into field
recordings and these field recordings become the starting point a composition, where rustling palm trees,
branches touching ground or Black Sea recordings are fed into some sort of modular set-up to create guitar
like sounds of an improvised nature such as in ‘Wind 4’ or the deep drones of ‘Wind 5’. Unlike before field
recordings play a more important role this time without affecting the somewhat dramatic approach by
Schwarz when it comes to the final sound treatment. Again the music is quite dark and atmospheric with
that symphonic undercurrent to it. Partly that comes from the more percussive treatments the field recordings
get and again it works very well. R. Schwarz, whoever he is and whatever else he does, created another
scary soundtrack, despite the transparency of the cover.
    With a name like Greenhouse you could think there is some environmental theme or concept behind;
like some extremist eco warriors, something different than Whitehouse or Blackhouse. Maybe it is just a
name, chosen by Curran faris who recorded this music in 2016 and 2017 in Winnipeg and had it mixed by
Joel Mierau; I am never sure why you wouldn’t want to mix your own music. It is it your creation I would think.
Here too we have a fine bit of atmospherically charged music but perhaps of a less dark nature. The
information suggests the use of a guitar here (“Using six string instrumentation as a device to investigate in
the unsung floating tones of defeat.”) and not mentioned are probably a whole bunch of sound effects that
add mild treatments to the sound, yet enough to make it sound like something else; not necessarily a guitar
I would think. The somewhat rhythmic effect that is part of the music resembles something of a stone being
thrown into water and the ripples on the surface expand further and further. A drone character is never too
far away here of course, but somehow Greenhouse knows how to add a lighter tone quality to the
proceedings. In that respect I thought it wasn’t easy to interpret the title of this release. To me it just didn’t
sound like something ‘depressed’, but of course I know little about the surroundings in which the music
was recorded. All I know that this is very fine release of ambient music, recorded using a guitar and with
a slightly more experimental touch to it. (FdW)
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